Vananda and no virus!!
Vananda and Texada Boat Club are in the shelter of Stuart Bay on the Northeast end of Texada Island. There are floats secured by anchor out into the small bay for local boaters and visitors. After having a look at the head of the bay for possible anchorage we decided the SE gusts blowing in would not make for a very restful night. We hailed Bob the wharfinger on 66A as we approached the docks and he directed us to help ourselves to the last space at the end of B dock. The visitor dock was already full.
In the times we’ve spent on the dock in years gone by there was always a lively gathering at the picnic tables under the canopy, flower boxes lining the dock, and a book trading box. This time there was no gathering of the sailors that sought shelter from the snotty weather in Malaspina Strait, social distancing was recommended, and Bob, the harbor master came to the dock wearing a mask. We were impressed since we’ve been running from the virus since March. The canopy did provide shelter during a downpour, and a lovely view of the rainbow over the marina.
The large limestone breakwater looms into the bay, a tidal grid on the low low tide was utilized by our friendly neighbor Darren whom we heard leaving the dock at 5:30 am. He had her half painted by the time I was up and on the dock at 10 am. The little harbor is busier than most at this hour, a trailer pulled by a John Deere tractor put two boats from the hard in the water, three sailboats have left the dock and locals are up and down the ramp with supplies for the weekend, their dogs in tow.
There are signs everywhere that this has been a well utilized harbor for many decades. The cement pilings emerge along the rock wall behind the docks, my favorite part of this quaint bay. Across the water the lime kiln stands against the backdrop of trees, it’s weathered bricks tell a story of industries including mining of iron ore, copper and for the last century, limestone. A floating hospital was moored in Vananda, and the harbor was also the shipping point for illegal alcohol to the United States during prohibition. The remains of a “hooch boiler” can be seen on the beach.
If you talk to the locals, which we do, you find hardworking folks who have made Texada home. A walk up to the village shows the care given to their homes and gardens. Everywhere are blooming rhododendrons, alongside palm trees and roses.
A lady I met on my walk was on two cellphones at the corner and was still there on my return half an hour later. “So this is where you have cell phone service?” I asked. She replied, “No, I’m playing pokemon.” She then invited me to stop off at her pottery shop!?
People who work here get off the rock on their fishing boats, and others come here by sailboats as they pass up and down to and from Desolation Sound and beyond. In the two nights we were on the dock we met an immigrant from Holland, a Doctor from South Africa who worked at the Cancer Clinic in Vancouver, a Coast Guard staff from Victoria who was British, travelling with her companion who was in the navy, and a good ol’ guy from New Brunswick. The Skipper tracked down the connections to this man’s brother-in-law, whom Hershey worked with in the window business in New Brunswick in the 80’s.
The evening ended with the softest light on the boats and the rock wall.
Before we left I took one more walk up the ramp to admire the harbor, the large tide and the limestone breakwater.
We’ll be back Vananda!!